Wednesday 11 August 2010

Saturday Comes Slow - a film by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin

On the second floor of Cambridge University’s Department of Engineering, behind a vast array of home made speakers and Seventies-era hi-fi equipment, sits a rarely-used container-sized room called the Anechoic Chamber – a room designed to create total silence.

On visiting an Anechoic Chamber, John Cage entered expecting to hear silence, but he wrote later: “I heard two sounds, one high and one low. When I described them to the engineer in charge, he informed me that the high one was my nervous system in operation, the low one my blood in circulation.” True silence, he concluded, is impossible.

Ruhal Ahmed, a former detainee at Guantanamo Bay, has a special relationship to silence. For a period of two and a half years, he was repeatedly questioned by military staff at the Cuban base, where his interrogators would often play music to him repeatedly at high volume. This short film by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin – one of a number made to accompany the new Massive Attack album Heligoland, and featuring the track Saturday Comes Slow – is a meditation on Ruhal Ahmed’s experience in Guantanemo. Produced in collaboration with Massive Attack.